THEN - and - NOW

Last Update 2/21/2010

Links to other pages of Photos:
San Jose 1975-2006 (the original inspiration for these pages)
San Jose Then and Now 
(Public Buildings) 
The Box of Ghosts Project
(Long-gone buildings) 
San Jose From the Air 2007 (aerials)
Many thanks to the San Jose Historical Museum and especially their archivist, Jim Reed, in locating many of the "THEN" photographs.

In this day and age, photographs are taken of house all the time -- for real estate sales, for neighborhood websites, for appraisals, etc. Houses were photographed less often 30-100 years ago. If you had a camera at all, you took photographs of your family, not your house. In spite of that, I was able to find a few photographs of homes in San Jose. Some of them were taken in the 1930s. Others are merely 20 years old (although the houses themselves are much older).

These are houses that have stood the test of time. Most of them are in downtown San Jose, but there a few from Willow Glen and the Rose Garden area. I'll add more as I find them. If you have an old photo of a home in San Jose that is still standing, send it to me and I'll get the "now" photo and add it to this collection.

All of the "Now" photos were taken by me in 2007. The "Then" photos come from a variety of sources.

The photo of the Naglee Mansion on the left was taken in 1902 but the house was built in 1892 by General Naglee's sister, Mary Naglee Burk. General Naglee's two daughters decided to turn his estate into the housing development now known as Naglee Park. The house still stands at the corner of 14th Street and San Fernando, missing a lot of its ornamental woodwork, and is now an apartment house. (SJHD)
Sometimes it is not the mansion of the wealthy that survives. Sometimes it is a lowly duplex. On the left is one built in 1885 with a very unusual piece of architectural design -- sub-street-level garages. It has survived, albeit with stucco over the wood shingles, concrete steps replacing the original wood, and vinyl windows replacing the original windows (and who knows what else went on inside?). But it has survived!   I found the photo on the left in the Box of Ghosts (SJHM).
276 North Third Street was perhaps originally a single family home, now broken into apartments. (Balunis)
A beautifully maintained and/or restored mansion at 435 North Third (CFBB)
The house at 629 North First Street has not been noticeably fiddled with, but it appears that some owner wanted income property and added apartments in the back. It's a Wolfe & McKenzie design. (CFBB)
279 San Fernando has been a duplex and apartments, and is now a fraternity house north of San Jose State University. (Balunis)
An early San Jose hotel was the Hotel Dorchester at the corner of Seventh and San Fernando. Today it's the Beta Theta Pi fraternity on the northern boundary of San Jose State University's campus. The tower looming in the background is City Hall. (SJHM)
415 North Fifth Street was once a single family home and, judging from the mail box collection in front, is now apartments. (Balunis)
446 North Fifth Street has survived although there have been some changes to the windows upstairs. But look at the ornate woodwork at the roofline that has withstood the elements!
A block away, at 301 North Fifth is this grand old duplex. When it was built in 1901, *each * flat has three bedrooms, one bathroom, and *two* fireplaces. I couldn't tell when I took the photo in 2008 if it was still just two flats. (CFBB)
New landscaping and an eye-popping paint job transform this house at 432 North 5th Street (Balunis)
It looks like this house at 489 North Fourth Street had fallen on hard times in 1985. Someone came along and restored it beautifully. (Balunis)
In 1985, 490 North Fifth Street looked pretty neglected, or at least well-used. Another treasure restored! (Balunis)
Just down the street, at 496 North Fifth is this home. Didn't look too bad thirty years ago either! (Balunis)
This was a bit tricky to photograph because of the new landscaping but this is a home at 530 South Sixth Street, one that didn't get replaced by a big ugly apartment building to serve the students of San Jose State! (Balunis)
The photo on the left of the home at 386 North 12th Street was taken in 1944. According to the card at the Martin Luther King Library, it was the home of Anna B. McCall, and was the site of the Reorganization Garden City Women's Club for Black women. The home was inherited in 1966 by Anna's godson Phillip Ellington. Members of the Ellington family still own the home today. The photo on the right was taken in 2008 when the home was getting a new paint job.
The house at 198 North 12th Street has an interesting history. It was originally built at 535 E. Santa Clara Street but was moved to this location in 1947 to make way for the Starlite Drive-in Restaurant. It was originally a single-story home, but a former owner opened up the attic space and put in additional bedrooms. The balcony in front was also removed. Too bad the trees block so much of the view. (CFBB)
This building at 408 S. Eighth Street was built in 19818. It is at the edge of the southern boundary of San Jose State University and has someone survived. While homes around it have been converted to concrete boxy apartment building (see Box of Ghosts for examples), this one still stands, albeit modified. (CFBB)
This 2 bedroom-1 bath house at 898 South Second Street was built in 1905 and stands today. It appears unaltered except for the paint job. (CFBB)
A pair of houses at 96 North Sixth Street have not changed much except for paint and landscaping.(Balunis)
At 121 East Julian is this one-story home built in 1904, a good example of an early California bungalow. The Victorian on the right is still there too. A lot of the house besides just the trees out front had been altered. When this photo was taken in the summer of 2008, the house was for sale and the Victorian was under-going some serious renovation. (CFBB)
This home on the northeast corner of Empire and 4th is on the historic registry. What a beauty! (MLK)
In 1904, this lovely single-family home was built at 664 South Eighth Street. Today, it's divided into apartments. There were two trees planted out front and one appears to have survived. According to the description in George Espinola's book, that is a hitching post between the trees! (CFBB)

This was in the Box of Ghosts, a house that may have been slated for demolition that somehow survived. It's at 385 South Fifteenth Street in the Naglee Park area of San Jose. (SJHM)

This house is another house from the Box of Ghosts. It may been scheduled to fall to the wrecking ball when 280 was created. The restorer has add some decorative trim, siding, and paint. Nice job! (SJHM)
From the Box of Ghosts, this one at 1035 Taylor Street. This is close to the Taylor Street overcrossing at Highway 101, and may have been scheduled for demolition for that structure. Some plans were changed and the house was spared. Whew!   (SJHM)
This bungalow is in Willow Glen at 1231 Minnesota. Another survivor! (OWG)
Another survivor in Willow Glen, this one at 1119 Meredith Street, just off Lincoln Avenue. It was built in 1865 approximately where the Garden Theater is today, and moved in 1926 to its present location. It appears to have changed very little. At one time it had been broken up into apartments, but appears to be a single family home again. A substantial hedge on the righth side prevented getting a better angle. (OWG)
A home in The Rosegarden designed by Wolfe & McKenzie, taken from George Espinola's book. (CFBB) The home recently got a new paint job. There are hundreds of homes in this area of San Jose that were built between 1910 and 1930, fine examples of the style and craftsmanship of that time period.
This Craftsman-style bunga-mansion (5 bedrooms, a "smoking room," and a huge "billards hall") was built in 1906 at 1794 The Alameda and it stands today, home to DeMattei Construction, which I assume is responsible for the restoration. It's missing that wrap-around front porch and massive balcony, but is still mighty impressive. (CFBB)
52 South Eleventh Street has had some surgery to the right side - the bay has been enlarged and boxed - but otherwise looks the same. Even the front door looks original. Another house from George Espinola's book (CFBB).
This is the house at 386 North 12th Street. According to a display at the Martin Luther King Library in downtown SanJose, this was the home of John and Annie McCall, a prominent African-American couple in San Jose. It was also the site of the Reorganization Garden City Women's Club. It was getting a paint job the day I took the photo on the right in the spring of 2008.
A home in Naglee Park designed by Wolfe & McKenzie, taken from George Espinola's book. This home at 35 South Thirteenth looks pretty much the same -- except for that amazing chimney! Adding a fireplace and chimney is quite a feat of engineering and remodeling. All the other detailing on the house appears to be intact, including all the decorative woodwork above the windows. (CFBB)
This house at 75 South Thirteenth also appears to have acquired a fireplace and chimney. That square box on the top of the house in the left photo was a skylight, a rarity in the 1903, and it looks like it was removed at some point and replaced with a modern skylight. That odd piece of wood by the sidewalk? That's a hitching post. (CFBB)
The house at 41 South Thirteenth has gained a room upstairs where there was once a balcony, but the rest of the house looks about the same. (CFBB)
This remodel of the home at 133 South Twelfth gets filed in the "What were they THINKING?" folder. The front windows and chimney are the same but what's that thingee sticking out on the left side? Yikes! (CFBB)
Just down the street from the house above is this one on the corner at 198 South Twelfth. Beautifully preserved! (CFBB)
Another nearby house, this one at 52 South Twelfth, also seems to have survived in good condition, including lots of the fine detailing that went into homes built in the early part of the 1900s. (CFBB)
At 42 South Fourteenth is a house that has survived, but barely. It is hard to see in this photo, but the wood and shingles are rotting, the front steps are almost unusable. Too bad! (CFBB)
This home is east of downtown San Jose, in the area called St. Leo's. The current owner, Laura Winter, offered me the photograph on the left of her home on Atlas Avenue, taken on the day it was completed in 1936. I took the one on the right over 70 years later in 2007.
The Kirk house on Dry Creek Road in Willow Glen was built in 1878 and looks pretty much the same today. 150 years later, it is still owned by the Kirk family. I have read that it has 18-foot ceilings! (SJHI)
The Cole Mansion on Martin Avenue in the Rose Garden was designed in the early 1900s by Frank Wolfe after he left the firm of Wolfe & McKenzie. (SJHI)
The Hayes Mansion on Edenvale Avenue looks a lot better today than it did in the mid 1970s when the photo on the left was taken. This was the second home built by the family on this site, the first wooden home having burned as a result of a kitchen fire. The home has been beautifully restored, and a convention and vistors center has been added on the east side (not visible in the photo on the right). Schedule a Sunday brunch there and take some time to tour the public areas of this grand old home. (SJHI)
Links to other pages of Photos:
San Jose 1975-2006   
San Jose Then and Now 
(Public Buildings) 
The Box of Ghosts Project  
San Jose From the Air 2007 (aerials)
Many thanks to the San Jose Historical Museum and especially their archivist, Jim Reed, in locating the "THEN" photographs.